The Trail Home
Along the Pacific Crest
The Trail Home describes my 2,650 mile trek on the Pacific Crest Trail and the internal transformation that occurred along the way. Starting in southern California and heading northward, I spent six months journeying through some of the most spectacular landscapes in America, from the arid deserts of the southwest to the High Sierras and the Cascade Mountains. Ultimately, I would arrive at the Canadian border in mid October, but I was no longer the same person as when I began. The Trail Home describes the intertwined, dual journey that I would undertake the external journey exploring the physical landscape and the internal journey exploring the landscape of my soul.
I came to the realization as I hiked along the Pacific Crest Trail that we live fragmented and disjointed lives. We have been promised happiness and fulfillment from a culture mired in materialism, competition, and shallowness. As a result of following the pathway to success laid out before me, my life had become fragmented without any real meaning: my spirituality had stagnated; my intellectual curiosity had deteriorated; my imagination had atrophied. As I walked northward along the trail, the sheer steadfastness of the land its permanence, patience, and endurance seeped into my soul. The rhythm of the landscape slowed my pace and calmed my spirit, allowing a new, more spiritual life to unfold within me, often leaving me in tears. By the end of the hike, I had recaptured the lost harmony that feeds the mind, body, and soul and I became whole again.
About the Author
Alfred Wohlpart received his bachelor's degree in Forestry from Colorado State University and his doctorate in Botany from the University of Texas in Austin. He taught at Kenyon College for several years before moving out of higher education into an administrative position in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. After through-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, he solo hiked the Appalachian Trail up to the Maine border, and then completed the trail the following summer with his son, Jim. He has also hiked the Trail of St. James in France and Spain.